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Lifestyle

The Starbucks gift card I bought is useless


My granddaughter started at Leicester University in September. There was a Starbucks on the campus so I bought her a £20 gift card. She has told me the branch will not accept it. Starbucks verified that, although this outlet comes up as one of its stores on its website, as it is a franchise it will not accept the card. It was suggested she use a city centre branch over an hour’s walk away. I can’t find anything on Starbucks’ website that warns gift cards are not acceptable at all stores and I was not told when I bought it. I have asked for a refund since the card is not fit for use. Now I have been told to send photographic ID and a bank statement with my full name and address. The refund will then take 45 business days to process. JB, Birmingham

Starbucks confirms this was a franchised, or licensed, store typically on campuses, CenterParcs and so on, accounting for about 30% of its UK outlets. It says it was unfortunate the barista who sold you the card had not mentioned it was not redeemable at all stores and insists the draconian security is to stop fraudulent activity. It promises a refund within 10 days and adds: “We are working with JB to make the situation right. While over 700 UK stores accept the cards, a small number that are not wholly company-owned are not able to, including some university stores.”

But how are shoppers expected to know the difference? Have other readers had similar experiences?

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions



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